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There's no shame in admitting injuries are crucial in football

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    The football conceit is that injuries are irrelevant, and that to cite them is to signify weakness, to indulge in alibis, to compromise the code, to ask for directions.

    Two questions: 1) Why does an explanation have to be an excuse? 2) Why do football players wear helmets when their heads are already so hard?

    The Chargers are probably going nowhere as they are presently constituted, yet they continue to maintain the football facade that all that's missing is a little more concerted effort. They are a team in denial and, increasingly, in the trainer's room. As a consequence, they are a team with a 2-3 record.

    “One guy goes down, the next guy's got to play, regardless of who's injured,” safety Eric Weddle said yesterday afternoon. “That's always been a mind-set of mine, the way I've been coached.

    “We've got talented guys on the team. ... We're not very far off. We've just got to execute the little things, execute down the stretch.”

    Right. So maybe if we all clap our hands and shout, “I do believe in fairies,” Shawne Merriman will magically return to menace quarterbacks. Maybe, if wishing could make it so, LaDainian Tomlinson's problem toe and Antonio Gates' tender hip could heal on command.

    Maybe injuries wouldn't matter if they didn't matter so much.

    The Chargers' 17-10 shortfall Sunday in Miami might have been averted through several scenarios, most obviously a better-blocked fourth-and-1 play at the goal line. Yet the inconsistency that has been the Bolts' hallmark so far this season is not likely to change unless and until some of their key playmakers recuperate.

    Tomlinson, Merriman and Gates ranked Nos. 3, 11 and 24 in a CBSsports.com preseason ranking of the National Football League's 50 best players. If the talent differences between NFL teams are as small as coaches claim, the loss or limitation of three elite players would seem sufficient to reduce a powerhouse to a punching bag.

    Merriman, football's fiercest pass rusher, has been lost for the season. Tomlinson, the two-time rushing champion, has lost a gear, much of his agility and has gained 1 yard fewer per carry than he averaged last year. Gates has been gimpy, his old burst a misty memory, and the Pro Bowl tight end's production through five games has dropped from 40 catches (in 2007) to 16.

    The basic problem here is not precision, but personnel. Every team has its injuries, and every player has his aches, but no team has so much depth that it could absorb the key injuries the Chargers have sustained without consequences. You can blame Norv Turner's play-calling or Ted Cottrell's defensive schemes or the ever-unpopular Ed Hochuli, but the Chargers are a pretty average bunch when they are this depleted. They might still reach the playoffs, but they could also be capable of a 7-9 finish.

    “I don't think there's any question that we're banged up,” Tomlinson said yesterday. “Obviously, you just look at the injury report and you can see that.

    “But at the same time, we played through stretches like this last year when we were banged up and we got the job done. So I don't want to make that excuse. There's no excuse for us to come out the way we came out and played early in games, in my mind.”

    What the Chargers were able to overcome in Indianapolis last January was a testament to the players' toughness and their coaches' ingenuity. That they nearly advanced to the Super Bowl with quarterback Philip Rivers fresh out of surgery and without meaningful contributions from Tomlinson and Gates was undeniably impressive.

    Yet though Henry V's “happy few” speech is still stirring after 400 years, playing short-handed is generally a good way to get beat. By the time Chargers coach Norv Turner had run through his injury report yesterday, adding Rivers (ribs), receiver Chris Chambers (ankle), guard Kris Dielman (thigh) and safety Clinton Hart (shoulder) to the list of usual suspects, Sunday's game against the New England Patriots seemed less like a grudge match than a last stand.

    Tomlinson called it a “must-win,” which is not quite the same thing as a “will-win.” When asked if the Chargers' expectations should be adjusted to reflect their injuries, though, Norv Turner replied, “absolutely not.”

    “We're not going to change our expectations,” he said. “I said a week ago, after the Raider game, I thought we made great strides and I thought we were getting better and we had individuals getting better . . .

    “We have some guys who aren't 100 percent. We have some guys who aren't capable of doing what we're accustomed to seeing. But I think they're getting closer and closer to doing it.”

    “Closer,” of course, is not quite the same thing as “close.” When it was suggested that he might benefit from a week off, Tomlinson reacted as if he had been offered an ointment of pixie dust.

    “It's not a one-week injury,” Tomlinson said. “You can't get better in one week. There's no such thing. Nobody can. If you're injured, you're injured. One week is not going to help. If you take one week off, you might as well take three weeks off.”

    Three weeks off is not an option. Not now, at least. When the Chargers started 2-3 a year ago, they were able to find comfort from a soft patch in the schedule – consecutive home games against Oakland and Houston. This time, there's 3-1 New England, followed by a trip to 4-1 Buffalo, followed by a London rendezvous with the New Orleans Saints.

    “Make no mistake, this is a critical time,” Tomlinson said. “This is going to determine what type of team we have this year.”

    Injuries, Tomlinson says, are no excuse, which is not quite the same thing as saying they are not a problem.

    By Tim Sullivan
     
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  2. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I wish I had a dime for every time I've asked this question.
     
  3. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Stating the obvious here; jes get'r'dun!!
     
  4. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    An average coach would have LT sit and get healthy.
    Especially when it's early in the season and when Sproles and Tolbert are doing so good!!! :yes:
     
  5. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    That wouldn't make any difference on the win/loss record.
     
  6. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    Sure it would. Because Sproles and Tolbert would a lot more affective!!

    I'd love to have a healthy LT for the playoffs but the way things are going right now, we might not have LT at all by that time.
    Hell, we might not even have any playoffs if Norv doesn't figure out how to coach.
     
  7. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Got facts?
     
  8. JAMMER

    JAMMER BoltTalker

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    Injuries play a part... you got to deal with it...

    brady out Pats 3-1
    Jags OL missing 3 starter
    Westbrook hurt

    every team got injuries part of the sports
     
  9. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    To rub together with the other dime you have in your pocket?? :icon_tease:
     
  10. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    I agree, look at the Giants. Missing their top two pass rushers from last year, as well as TE Jeremy Shockey and a key O-lineman.

    Norv is a ***** who is afraid to sit guys out, to the detriment of the entire team.

    Case in point: LT and Gates need to sit out entirely, or play less. Norv can put in more of a spread formation and get Buster and Naanee more involved. That would also get the ball out of Philip's hands quicker to avoid punishment.

    Too bad Norv is too much of a ***** to do what is best for the team.
     

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